Addo Kofi & Ors V. Kwaku Twum & Ors (1942)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Interpleader Summons—Plea of estoppel set up by judgment creditors (Plaintiffs-Respondents) in relation to transactions between judgment debtor and owners of property attached.
The plaintiffs-respondents obtained judgment against defendant. At their instance property was seized under process of the Court, in execution of that judgment. The claimant-appellant took out a summons for the Court to adjudge the property to be that of herself and her family and to release the property from attachment.
The judgment creditors set up a plea of estoppel by reason of certain transactions between the judgment debtor, with the acquiescence of the family, and third parties.
No suggestion made that by these transactions the plaintiffs had been induced in any way to alter their position by any such transactions or representations.
Trial Judge upheld the plea and dismissed the claim with costs.
Held : Decision wrong in law. Doctrine of estoppel ” in pais” inapplicable in such circumstances.
A. 0. Larbi (with him Mr Akufo Addo) for Appellant. K. A. Bossman for Respondents.
The following joint judgment was delivered :—
KINGDON, C.J., NIGERIA, PETRIDES, C.J., GOLD COAST AND GRAHAM PAUL, C.J., SIERRA LEONE.
The claimant-appellant in this case took out an interpleader summons in the Supreme Court at Accra claiming that property seized under process of the Court in the suit between the plaintiffs-respondents and the defendant, Kwaku Twum, should be adjudged to be the property of herself and her family and released from attachment.
The plaintiffs-respondents in answer to the claim relied upon a plea of estoppel, alleging that the family allowed the judgment-debtor, Twum, to occupy the property, to deal with it as his own and use it for business. The learned trial Judge upheld the plea and dismissed the claim with costs.
We are of opinion that in so doing he was wrong in law, inasmuch as the doctrine of estoppel in pais is inapplicable to the present case. The only acts suggested as giving rise to the estoppel are transactions between the judgment-debtor, with the alleged acquiescence of the family, on the one hand, and third parties on the other hand. It is not suggested that it is any transaction between the judgment-debtor and the present plaintiffs which leads to the estoppel, or that the judgment-debtor has made any representations to the plaintiffs, or that the plaintiffs have been in any way induced to alter their position by any such representations. That being so, it is clear that the doctrine does not apply and that the learned trial Judge was wrong in upholding the plea.
The appeal is allowed, the judgment of the Court below, including the order as to costs, is set aside, and it is ordered that, if any sum has been paid in pursuance of that judgment, it shall be refunded; it is ordered that the property described in the interpleader summons be released from attachment; the appellant is awarded costs in this Court assessed at £32 18s Od and in the Court below to be taxed.